US cover // Aussie/UK Cover
He isn’t the only one.
Carmen is so desperate to win she takes anti-anxiety drugs to control performance nerves. But what started a year ago as an easy fix is now a hungry addiction. Her mother insists now is not the time to quit, but Carmen is sick of not feeling anything on stage and even more sick of doing what she’s told.
When the darker side of the classical music industry and her mother's ambition collide, Carmen must choose between her career and her love for music. (from goodreads)
Virtuosity is a gorgeously written book. I loved the smooth flowing prose from the start but what impressed me most was the way Jessica Martinez manages to evoke atmosphere and emotion ~ and her descriptions of music and the way it made me feel are *brilliant*. So succinct, never flowery ~ just the perfect blend of ache and beauty.
Virtuosity covers about two weeks in the life of Carmen ~ leading up to winning a future-changing prestigious award as a violinist. There's the perfect amount of back-story spliced in to compliment character depth and motivations. The plot pretty much straight-up concerns music and touches on themes such as performance anxiety, high (all-consuming) parent expectations, identity, and figuring out who you are verse who you want to be.
Pacing-wise: it's a dream to read. Smooth enough to settle in, compelling enough to keep reading the next chapter and tense enough to be anxious for the climax. The stakes are insanely high (and keep climbing higher) and the conflict is emotionally ache-y (in a number of sub-plots).
The conflict with love interest (fellow musician and main rival) Jeremy (British cute-guy) is startlingly compelling and definitely a mix of swoon and doubts. He's gorgeously flawed and a smidgen enigmatic. Plus: love/hate chemistry/curiosity <3. I really loved Jeremy, hey, and not just in a swoony way (there is that) but also as a character with his own story to tell.
What I most loved about Jessica Martinez's writing is how completely she gets under her character's skins. I felt like I was living the tension and the dream alongside them. Also, her villains are complex and understandable, even in their despicable moments.
Just writing this review has reminded me of so many scenes that took my breath away. A stunning book, guys.
Also ~ LOVED the ending. It was perfect ~ I love an ending that completes a character ARC more than an ending the finalises their story.
If the blurb of this book interests you, I really cannot see you being disappointed with this book. LOVED ITthanks galleygrab :)
Which cover is your favourite?
(I can't pick this time, I love them both. Although, having read the book, I think the Aussie one may match the tone more?)